Movie review: ‘Human Nature’ is a crisp and engaging look at DNA therapy – Madison.com

Posted: April 6, 2020 at 10:42 pm

But things get even trickier when one talks about editing the DNA in sperm or egg cells, which would then affect multiple generations to come. Expert Fyodor Urnov says in the film hes dead set against such genetic modifications. We might think its okay or even admirable to edit the genome of a terminally ill cancer patient so they did not feel pain, he notes. But what about editing that same gene to create a generation of invulnerable super soldiers? Everyone seems to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable in a different place, and Human Nature is refreshingly open to all voices in the debate.

Human Nature is divided up into chapters, walking the audience through the science and its implications through interviews with researchers, journalists and ethicists. Bolt often interviews them sitting at their dining room tables, talking passionately about their work as if they were excitedly chatting with a friend.

A couple of the interviewees are connected with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the leaders in gene therapy. Rodolphe Barrangou is a former Ph.D. student at the UW, and you might have seen him tooling around Madison in his car with CRISPR license plates.

Also appearing in the film is UW bioethicist and Star Trek fan Alta Charo, who takes an even-handed approach to the debate, noting that the technology is merely a tool, neither inherently good or evil. What you do with the power determines if the result is something we applaud or something we deplore, she said. But its not the tool that determines the endpoint. Its the user.

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Movie review: 'Human Nature' is a crisp and engaging look at DNA therapy - Madison.com

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